Washington will swallow your soul if you let it. It’s a place where many moral compasses go to die. So maybe it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Vice President of the United States is ridiculed when it’s reported that he’s spent his time in office choosing to live his life differently from the D.C. status quo.
Since a Washington Post profile of Karen Pence, the vice president’s wife, appeared last week, critics have obsessed over a single line, which reported that, as of 2002, the vice president doesn’t dine alone with women other than his wife. At the Atlantic, the New Yorker and other venues, writers have argued that Pence’s preference amounts to a discriminatory policy against women employees, leading to them being left out of important meetings that could boost their careers.
But it’s not true. And I would know: I’m a woman, and I worked for Pence while he served in Congress.
Pence’s personal decision to not dine alone with female staffers was never a hindrance to my ability to do my job well, and never kept me from reaping the rewards of my work.